10 embarrassing flight moments


One of my favorite ways to get to know fellow crewmembers is to ask, “What is your most embarrassing moment on a flight or a layover?” It’s a great way to pass the time, and some of my best stories come from their responses.

Usually, people respond cautiously with “I don’t know — what’s yours?”

I tell them about the time I inhaled a piece of chicken in the back galley as I was confronted by my airline’s CEO, and then proceeded to choke and cough it back up on his shoes.

Or how, on a layover in downtown New York, I got out of the shower, dancing and singing to one of my favorite rock songs. I stopped short in front of a window, where I found myself two feet away from an office building with no fewer than eight people laughing and clapping. Not only was I naked, but my dancing is nothing short of horrifying and should not be viewed by anyone under any circumstances.

After breaking the ice with this vivid image, wild stories are sure to follow.

Here are the top 10 embarrassing stories that I have heard.

1. An older flight attendant serving meals was down to her last lasagna. As she passed it to a passenger, her top denture popped out of her mouth and landed directly in the middle of the pasta. She froze in embarrassment. The passenger calmly and discreetly said, “That’s OK, I’ll take the beef instead.”

2. A pilot with a multi-segment flight ahead of him had to declare his inability to continue after the first flight. He had a bad case of gas, and his captain refused to work with him. The airline had to cancel the next two segments. Months later, a review board took up the case of the cancelled flights, and the poor pilot had to explain to a committee about his intestinal fortitude. He laughs about it now, but nobody was then amused by his quip: “I can proudly say we had plenty of gas.”

3. A young female flight attendant happened to have her fiancee onboard. When he went to use the lavatory, she thought it would be a fun joke to unlock the door and join him. Well, she unlocked the wrong restroom and surprised a first-class passenger doing his business.

4. During breakfast service on a flight to London, while most passengers slumbered away, a flight attendant accidentally hooked a man’s toupee with her ring. Not knowing what the dark, furry things was, she started screaming, thus waking a shocked group of passengers and one very embarrassed man.

5. During the safety demonstration, someone, (no, not me) slipped a live air (CO2) cartridge into a young flight attendant’s safety vest. When she pulled down on the cord to inflate the vest, she got a loud noise and full inflation. This scared the young lady so much that she began crying and wet her pants.

6. On a layover, a female flight attendant, who had had too much to drink, walked into an unlocked room, thinking it was her own, undressed and climbed into bed. Minutes later, she started screaming as the room’s rightful occupant walked out of the bathroom naked. It took more than an hour to clear up the situation.

7. Another flight attendant liked to make love in odd places. On a layover, she took her boyfriend up to the hotel roof for a little fun. What they didn’t know was that the blacked-out glass of the adjoining room was really a one-way window and that a conference was taking place inside. Let’s just say that everyone had a good seat.

8. A captain, his girlfriend, who was a flight attendant, and the co-pilot, their good friend, were all working the same flight. The two pilots decided to play a joke on the girlfriend by undressing mid flight. They called the girlfriend to come up to the cockpit, but she had been called to the back at the last minute. An older flight attendant with no sense of humor answered the call instead. She reported what she saw and both pilots got fired. How do you explain that on your resumé?

9. At the end of a flight, a young flight attendant, who was shy, managed to walk out of the lavatory, through the airport and up to her hotel room with her entire skirt tucked into her panty hose. Considering it was LAX, she was sure to have put on a show for quite a few people.

10. On her way to a layover and her best friend’s bachelorette party, a flight attendant was stopped by a security guard, who had heard a strange humming coming from her suitcase. A search of the bag turned up the party favors: three vibrators (one of them activated), handcuffs, and an inflatable man.

Given the proper stimulus, most every crew member can give me an embarrassing story. But not one flight attendant, who flew with me one time into San Francisco. She claimed to be boring, and had no story to tell. Well, during the layover, at about 2 o’clock in the morning, there was a frantic knock on my door. When I opened the door, she was standing there in her panties with an arm covering her naked chest. I quickly told her that she had misunderstood the situation, and that I was married. She stormed through my door, picked up the phone and asked the front desk for a room key to be sent up. She apparently had gone to use the bathroom and in a sleepy stupor went through the hall door instead.

I guess that was an embarrassing moment for both of us.

If you have an embarrassing flight or layover moment, please send it to me. I will award prizes to the top entries and publish them, without names, in a later column.